In the Thick of It

November 28, 2001

New pointe shoes always take some getting used to, especially when you change models. You may even find that certain styles make it more challenging to balance on flat. According to research from the University of Wolverhampton in the UK, the thickness of your shoe may be affecting your stability.


Researchers had 28 college dancers jump over a hurdle onto one foot and balance for three seconds, each time in different footwear. The trials tested the dancers barefoot first, then in soft shoes of 2 mm thickness, jazz shoes of 7 mm thickness and dance sneakers of 30 mm thickness. As the thickness of the sole increased, so did the dancers’ wobbliness.


If you’ve just switched brands or models and it’s harder to stick your landing at the end of petit allégro or mantain your balance during adagio, it might be that the soles’ thickness has changed, which can throw you off even if the difference is miniscule. This doesn’t mean you have to can that model—just be patient as your body readjusts its balance.